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Car Reviews, Hatchback


Volvo V40 Review – Technological masterpiece

18 Sep , 2013  

Volvo V40 Review Front Angle Left - carwitter

Volvo released the V40 toward the beginning of last year, recently they have updated it with the addition of the R-Design package, which adds a sporty look to any model in the range.

We drove the base D2 1.6 Diesel engine, which had 115 HP and 270 Nm of Torque.

At £27,820 it was rather pricey for a 1.6 Diesel, but you get a lot of tech, and style for the money.

Volvo V40 Review Side - carwitter

Without doubt this has to be the best looking Volvo made in the last 10 years.

It looks great, slightly wedge shaped, with lots of curves and angles.

The front is low with a raked bonnet, it’s waistline starts at the nose near the headlights and sweeps along the side of the car before kicking up, and vanishing below the rear quarter light.

Volvo V40 Review Rear - carwitter

At the rear a silver and black diffuser fits the twin exhausts nicely. Black trim melts into the boot lid making the rear window seem bigger than it is. Boomerang style rear lights finish off the back end nicely.

Seeing the V40 from the side it looks rather ‘shooting brake’ esque, which is very in vogue at the moment!

R-Design adds the flashy rear spoiler, diffuser and a different front bumper, but the V40 is a stunner in any trim level.

Volvo V40 Review Front Close - carwitter

For a 1.6 the D2 does really well, throughout the week it never felt flat or lacking.

Power delivery is smooth through the 6 speed gearbox. Don’t get me wrong it’s not the fastest thing ever…0-60 comes up in 11.2 seconds but it can certainly cover ground. Having 270 Nm of torque really helps the car feel quicker than it is.

The whole car only weighs 1381 KG, which makes it nearly the lightest out of the whole V40 range.

It feels light too, only when you turn the traction control off and really throw it round a corner do you feel the weight transfer.

Cornering under normal conditions is just superb, it’s like the car’s on rails. The V40 stays flat through even the tightest of bends, Volvo have introduced a system that brakes the inside wheels when you corner allowing greater control, and more importantly – faster cornering speeds.

Volvo V40 Review Rear Angle - carwitter

Firm damping keeps everything stable, it’s stiff but not overly. There’s still a good amount of comfort to be had in the everyday ride.

One thing we have to mention is the tech on this car.

Ours came with City Safe which keeps an eye on you in slow moving traffic, (or if someone stops in front of you without you realising) an audible warning beep and red flashing lights appear in the lower part of the windscreen. The car will even brake for you as a last resort.

Now we didn’t get to try that bit out, but the attention grabbing alarm and lights are very effective! It also helps lower your insurance group.

Volvo V40 Review - City Safe - carwitter

It also has one of THE coolest things I have ever used in a car. Park Assist Pilot.

Now at £850 it is a pricey optional extra…but it’s just amazing. Press the little Steering wheel icon on the dash and the car starts “scanning” for a space big enough to park in.

When it finds one it tells you to stop and put the car in reverse, slowly creep back and the car starts turning the wheel for you. It’s like something out of a science fiction book.

It parks precisely every time, making sure the wheels are exactly the same distance from the kerb, front and back. Even when we tested it with a little more speed than you would sanely use, it still parked perfectly. Check out the video below to see it in action!

This is one time when technology can do a better job than a human, now I can parallel park no problem…but not in two manoeuvres every time!

Volvo V40 Review Steering Wheel - carwitter

Inside the V40 build quality is excellent, the whole interior feels very upmarket.

From the full LCD dials to the aluminium clad floating centre console, it’s all very modern.

I can safely say that build quality is far better than the Mercedes A-Class (which Volvo are currently comparing the V40 to). No sharp edges, or cheap plastic looking trim in this Swedish machine.

Volvo V40 Review Dashboard - carwitter

Volvo V40 Review Front Seats Interior - carwitter

Dash plastics are soft to the touch and well textured, the leather seats have a nice grain to them, even the floor mats have a great hard wearing feel, like they would last a lifetime.

All of the infotainment system is classy and easy to use, well laid out with clear modern looking menus.

Sound is well catered for, Volvo have done a superb job. The volume can be turned up without any distortion, and the bass is deep and clear. It is easily one of  the best standard stereo we have heard.

Volvo V40 Review Centre Console - carwitter

One thing that we weren’t sure on was the rather old fashioned looking dial pad in the centre console. I don’t know how else they could do it…but it’s a bit 90’s looking!

Volvo V40 Review Rear Seats Interior - carwitter

Space in the back is ok, fine for the kids, but maybe a little cramped if 2 adults were in there.

Volvo V40 Review Boot - carwitter

Boot space is good with a flat load capacity of 335 litres, part of the lower section is taken up by the ‘Tempa’ space saver spare wheel. An optional extra at £150.


Volvo have created a stunning looking car with the V40. It shows a new, fresh design direction for the company.

Build quality is superb, we couldn’t fault it at all. In fact the attention to detail across the whole car was great; even on the rear wiper blade the Volvo logo appears.

Volvo V40 Review Rear Wiper Detail - carwitter

Our model was priced with over £3k of extras, those being: Park Assist Pilot – £850, Lane Departure Warning – £700, Power Driver Seat – £600, BLIS (Blind spot warning) £500, Winter Pack – £375, Rebel Blue Paint – £275, Tempa Spare Wheel – £150, Flexible boot floor – £100, PACOS (Passenger airbag cut off) – £25.

The V40 is a bit of a left field choice, but if you are in the market for a well built, cool, different family car then take a V40 for a test drive. It’s a cracking car!

Volvo V40 Review Rear Right Angle - carwitter

Carwitter Summary:

Volvo V40 – Excellent build quality, great stereo, superb handling, we love it!

Volvo V40 Review Front Angle - carwitter

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Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter


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